The State College Police Department issued a reminder to Borough Residents on Wednesday. They’re asking for help regarding a suspected hate crime from April, when the Martin Luther King Junior Mural on South Fraser Street was vandalized. With Juneteenth celebrations expected this weekend, the Borough hopes to coincidentally wrap up this case.
Footage of the mural vandalism has not yet led to any arrests, and Borough Police have now tripled the reward for information leading to legal action to $3,000 dollars. Borough Officials hope that this action will lead to justice. Doug Shontz, Assistant to State College Borough Manager saying: “There are repercussions for these hateful actions and we really need the public’s help. Our, Officers are still looking into it, it’s still a high priority of the State College Police Department in the Borough, and that we would just want to make sure that not only along with the $3,000 reward in itself as a reward for helping us identify (suspects) but you’re helping prevent these things from happening in the future.”
Shontz says the Borough’s diversity should be championed, not chastised. Shontz adding: “We attract a diverse background of community members and those community members should be celebrated and not and this hate-based speech should not be tolerated here in the Borough of State College.”
That diversity will be celebrated this weekend with Juneteenth, the day the last slaves in America were freed, falling on Saturday, here in State College. Shontz saying: “It’s really nice that we have a group here, the State College NAACP, among other groups that, that want to bring people together to highlight Juneteenth and educate people, and we hope that anyone interested in learning more, anyone interested in celebrating the diverse community, just come Downtown (this weekend) and join in the celebration.”
The Borough will do their part to make sure those who come to celebrate are not looking over their shoulders for troublemakers, but that the celebration will not be deterred. Shontz, in closing: “Of course you don’t want over-Police presence, you don’t want that to highlight the event, you don’t want that to over…you know, make that the story because the event is about Juneteenth and about celebrating that African-American culture but we will have, we will make sure that all safety precautions are put in place, as we do with any event, to make sure that the people are able to enjoy the event and not have to worry.”